Tag Archives: likeness of God

Easter’s Glory is God’s Image R’ Us

By Daniel Downs

Over the past five years, a number of people claim seeing Jesus or an image of Jesus. It is believed that the Shroud of Turin (Jesus burial cloth) bears the image of Jesus. Photos of the image reveals a facial image. In 2008, people in Kingsville Texas saw an image on a water tower that looked like the face of Jesus. The local news report not only interviews those who saw “Jesus” but also shows pictures of it. Recently, Sun News, a U.K. newspaper, reported the discovery of an image of Jesus located somewhere in Eastern Hungary. His image was captured by the Google Earth satellite. More interesting is a report by the U.K. newspaper, Daily Mail Online, in which a sonogram reveals an image of Jesus. The young pregnant nurse was so amazed that she and her husband gave their son the biblical name Joshua.

What do all of these and many other reports like them mean?

For many like the young nurse who was experiencing a difficult pregnancy, the image of Jesus gives reassurance that God is present. These images of Jesus are a sign of God’s present. The images of Jesus offers people hope that during difficult times things will work out. The appearances of Jesus’ images reminds people of God’s grace through the one who not only died to redeem them from the consequences of their sins but who is alive today helping them live God’s way in the present.

Yet, the Bible teaches some deeper than this. It teaches that the image God wants to see is not in shrouds, in fine paintings, in fields, and not even in sonograms. He wants to see the image of Jesus in all of us. The image of Jesus is the original. It is the image and likeness of Himself created to be reflected by us. We do bear the physical representation of His image. The problem is the lack of His likeness lived by us. We fall short of the glory of God because we all have or do act in godless ways. Violence, war, envy, hate, greed, manipulation, selfishness, perversion, lying, deceiving, stealing, cursing, and the like are the daily behavior of human beings. Jesus is the opposite picture. The image of Jesus is the likeness that God seeks in us.

Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ willingness to be made the source of our renewal in the image and likeness of God. Jesus had to die in order for God to acquit us of our moral crimes, and his resurrection was necessary for our renewal. For it is the power of the resurrection by the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead at work in our lives that empowers to live God’s way. Through this same Sprit of Christ, we will be renewed to the image and likeness of God, and that is our glory.

Jesus & Co¹ : God’s Perfect Natural Reflection

In the post “Show Us God Before You Go,” I presented an overview of the 14th chapter of the gospel of John. Jesus was asked three questions by his disciples about his announced departure. An oversimplified summary of Jesus’ answer was that he was going to the Father. While there, he would prepare for them a place to live, and one day he would return to take them to his Father’s house to live as well.

The disciples’ questions amazed Jesus. He was amazed at how clueless his disciples really were. Therefore, he makes this bold statement: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you guys really knew me you would have known my Father also. So look here guys. You now know Him, and have seen Him.” (vv. 6-7)

I am not certain but I expect many disciples may still be clueless. After two millennium, it is possible many Christians still do not know what he meant. Is this possible?

Just in case I’m correct, I will attempt to explain Jesus’ bold claim, and I’ll start by analyzing the last verse (7) first.

Jesus said “If you really knew me you would have known the Father also…. You now know him, and have seen Him.”

Some seem to believe that Jesus is here further revealing his divinity. This is not the case for several reasons:

1)   Jesus neither said I am the Father nor that he is divine just as God is.
2)   He did say by knowing me you know my heavenly Father as well.
3)   He also said having seen my life and work you have seen the Father (in action).

One of Jesus’ post-resurrection disciples, Paul, very succinctly captured the meaning of Jesus statement. Paul described Jesus as the new Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-49). The story of Adam’s creation is the story of the original human being without sin or crime in God’s world. This account is recorded in Genesis 1:26-3:14. In it, the writer explains how God made Adam in His image and likeness. The physical appearance of Adam resembles God’s. This is depicted in Genesis 18-19; Number 24:9-11; Isaiah 6:1-3; Ezekiel 1:1,26-28; 8:1-3; 10:1-20; Revelation 4:2-4. The purity of Adam’s way of life was like God’s as well. The fall changed that. Once Adam had violated the law of God, his life began to resemble the evil one–the one who had tempted him to do evil. Through behavior resembling the devil’s, Adam’s God-likeness became corrupted. The moral purity characteristic of God likeness continued to decline with each new generation of Adam’s descendent. So much so that God observed that evil continually filled all of their imaginations, from their youth and thereafter. (Gen. 6:5-6; 8:21)

Thus, Adam’s lifestyle in many ways ceased to resemble his Creator.

Jesus as the new Adam means one who is fully like God, and this is what is referred to in John 14:7. Because Jesus was created by God in the Virgin’s womb, because the presence of God resided in him, because he always did what God’s law commanded or prohibited, and because he did and spoke those things that God directed, Jesus demonstrated what God is truly like.

As all humans, Jesus physically resembled God. Unlike all people, his life and work perfectly displayed the unseen God. As He did through Moses, God fulfilled his word and promises through the life and proclamations of his only begotten son, Jesus.

Jesus assured his disciples that they would show the world what God was like because they truly loved Him and practiced His commandments. Just as a loving child reflects the behavior, values, and words of his or her parent, so would Jesus’ disciples reflect His. The same is true of all God’s children that follow God with Jesus Christ.

1 Co represents cohorts or followers

By Daniel Downs